The Phoenix tied for fifth in the regular season in 2017, posting a 5-9 mark in conference play. Fourth-year head coach Kathy Slaughter returns nine letterwinners and three starters from last year’s 15-15 club, including First Team All-Mid-South performer Masa Nalovic.
Nalovic posted 262 kills and 60 total blocks as a sophomore last season, leading the club in kills and kills per set. Senior Sara Glassman led the Phoenix with 509 assists, 4.89 per set, despite splitting time, while senior Kara Snell registered 221 digs, 3.51 per set, before an injury sidelined her for the final six weeks of the season.
Slaughter welcomed nine newcomers for fall camp that started this past Sunday, including four junior college players.
“We have a lot of new faces and some very important roles to fill with the graduation of five seniors from last year,” Slaughter said. “This team will have to play very strong defense and have everyone contribute in order for our program to make strides in our very difficult conference.”
Lindsey Wilson, the defending national champion, was picked to win the league with five first-place votes and 46 total points. Georgetown College was a close second with 43 points and three first-place votes.
Campbellsville University was picked third with 37 points, followed by the University of the Cumberlands with 30 points and then Cumberland with 25 points. Life University followed with 23 points and the University of Pikeville and Shawnee State rounded out the poll, tying for seventh with 10 points apiece.
Cumberland will begin the regular season in the Mid-South Conference Challenge in Bowling Green, Ky., taking on Point University, Brescia University, Union College and Indiana-Southeast on Aug. 24-25. The Phoenix will play host to Fisk University on Aug. 28 in the home opener.